Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851–1939
This groundbreaking exhibition explores the ingenuity and craftsmanship of decorative arts made for world’s fairs, from London’s Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in 1851, to the New York World’s Fair in 1939. During this period, the fairs were the most important vehicles for debuting advancements in modern living, democratizing design as never before. Inventing the Modern World showcases approximately 200 examples of the most extraordinary works of furniture, metalwork, glass, ceramics, textiles, and jewelry produced by leading international artists and firms, including Lalique, Sèvres, and Tiffany. These exceptional and singular objects—some never before seen in the United States—represent the pinnacle of scientific and artistic achievements of their time. Inventing the Modern World breaks new ground in its exploration of innovation in decorative arts.
See highlight works from the exhibition.
The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color catalogue.
Related events: “Bound Together” Book Club, Jan. 10; Culture Club, Jan. 17; Film Screening: The Middleton Family at the New York World’s Fair, Jan. 31; Panel Discussion, Feb. 3; Lecture: Tiffany at the World’s Fairs, Feb. 7; Lunch & Learn, Feb. 14;
The exhibition is co-organized by Jason T. Busch, Chief Curator and The Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and Catherine L. Futter, Helen Jane and R. Hugh “Pat” Uhlmann Curator of Decorative Arts, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City.
Generous national support for this exhibition was provided by Wells Fargo, the Windgate Charitable Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Lead support for the Pittsburgh presentation was provided by Ritchie Scaife.
Major support for the Pittsburgh presentation was provided by the Richard C. von Hess Foundation, The Bessie F. Anathan Charitable Foundation at the request of Ellen Lehman and Charles Kennel, William E. and Janet Hunt, The Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, PPG Industries Foundation, the Barrie A. and Deedee Wigmore Foundation, and Westinghouse Electric Company.